Attending Amsterdam White Nights 2020

I am an Indie developer and I want to spend my resources wisely. I couldn’t find that much detail on what to expect on Amsterdam White Nights. So here is my 2020 take on the Amsterdam White Nights Conference.

TLDR: nice event, good talks, not that great for a starting or small Indie unless you are into mobile and have a released game already (or the talks feature subjects you are really interested in like I was).

White Nights

White Nights is a 2 days b2b event for game development related business to meet and do business. They are held throughout the year and settle down in Amsterdam, Barcelona and St. Petersburg.

If you look at their site you see it is a conference, a trade fair and a business network event. The normal entry fee is 350 euro’s, but if you are an Indie developer you can beg to get it down to 150, and that’s excluding traveling and stay costs (and the 2 days spend not earning money).

The main event is 2 days from 10:00 to 18:00, and there is a pre party (mainly networking), after party (mainly networking) and on the 2 main event days you can attend to an evening networking event. Depending on your ticket you can or cannot attend certain parties.

During the day the trade fair is situated on the main floor. In and around the main floor are meeting spots, and they have a website facilitating you getting in touch with others in those meeting spots. Also during the day there is food and there are drinks, and they organize events all-day so you have another opportunity to meet.

On my visit of 2020 in Amsterdam they had a lot of talks prepared during the 2 day main event, divided over 3 rooms. Most of the talks were 30 minute talks and some 60 minutes. And they were tightly scheduled, most of the talks being in parallel in the 3 rooms.

During the day and evening there were a lot of moments especially designed to get to talk to other attendees.
A major percentage of those attendees had titles that hinted on being developers in their daily work, followed by salesmen of all kinds. Only a few press like people. And definitely no consumers (as this is a b2b event).

What’s for sale?

This was the first time I attended, so I didn’t know what to expect. It is also the first b2b game dev event I ever attended to. I did read a few reviews on forehand of people mentioning ‘it is a real b2b event and one of the best in the Eurasia region’.
Well, I don’t have that much to compare to. The stand floor was roughly 50% game devs showing their games (mainly Indie), 10% game devs showing their b2b production capabilities, and 40% publishers. And the attendees were definitely all into game dev in some ways, as I could read from their job titles on their cards.

I don’t know if this conference is a good representation of the Eurasia game dev industry. But what I do know is that it is organized by a Russian company and a lot of the business on display looks to be of Russian and Asian origin. Further more, it is heavily mobile focused.

And there were talks. The main reason I attended this conference.
The talks I attended to where of good quality. The audience was a bit dull on questions (that includes me :P), but that didn’t withhold the speakers to deliver refreshing insights.

One thing I did skip was the possibility to get to meet other parties. During the day and evening there were a lot of moments especially designed to get to talk to other attendees. From what I heard of the people I spoke to, the conference was effective in facilitating talks and doing business (If the kind of people you seek was on display or attending the event).

So?

So, it is a real b2b event. And a big one, no doubt about that.

Worth your time? I don’t know… If you are in Europe, are into mobile and seeking for investments to accelerate the growth of your mobile audiences… then yes you have to be here.
From what I heard a lot of the businesses on display this year only wanted to invest in published games with (a bit of) track-record. So definitely no seed funding…

And the event isn’t that focused on the Indie side. Yes a lot of developers are showcasing their games. But you don’t get b2c exposure here (duh!), and not that much press neither. To me it seems events like this are worthwhile for the long run because you can connect here with people that can make things possible down the road sometime.
So keep this in mind when you want to determine if it is worthwhile going to this event…

Was it worth my own time? I enjoyed being there. Nice food, nice people, good talks. And it was definitely worth my time because of the many insightful talks I attended to.

Published by Erik_de_Roos

Erik de Roos is a Freelance software developer.

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